Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has said that he thinks former President Donald Trump will be indicted in connection to at least one of the numerous investigations he’s the subject of, as the former president campaigns for the 2024 GOP nomination.
Mr Christie, who ran against Mr Trump and more than a dozen others in the 2016 Republican primary, spoke to conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Wednesday, saying that he believes Mr Trump’s attorneys wouldn’t be able to reject the case of the grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia, even after the jury foreperson made a series of media appearances, prompting criticism towards some of her conduct.
But Mr Christie, who ran Mr Trump’s transition team and was considered for vice president before being dumped by the real estate mogul, said that “I still have a hard time believing” that Mr Trump would be indicted for trying to pressure Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, into overturning the 2020 election results in the state, which President Joe Biden won as the first Democrat to do so since Bill Clinton in 1992.
“This is a very difficult case to make off the phone call,” Mr Christie said of the phone conversation between Mr Raffensperger and Mr Trump. “Now I don’t know what their other evidence is. That’s supposed to be the beauty of the grand jury system. And it is so far in this case that you don’t know what all the specific other evidence may be. But based upon what I know publicly, I think it’s a tough case to bring against the former president based upon the information we now know.”
Mr Christie added that Mr Trump appears to be legally vulnerable in connection to the lead-up to the January 6, 2021 insurrection and obstruction of Congress.
The former governor added that he doesn’t think Mr Trump nor Mr Biden would be indicted after classified documents were found at their respective homes.
Mr Christie said the “most likely place” where a Trump indictment would happen would be New York state, where he faces investigations from the state attorney general and the US attorney of the Southern District of New York.
He added that Mr Trump’s campaign for president was likely to worsen his situation.
“I think the most likely place it will happen is New York. And I think it’s the least harmful matter to him,” he told Mr Hewitt. “If in fact, all they’re looking at is the Stormy Daniels payments, I think that (New York Attorney General) Letitia James has made it clear that she’s a political prosecutor, and that what she wants to do, and that she promised during the campaign, that she was going to go get Donald Trump. And I think she probably will. But I don’t think that would do much harm to him.”
Special Counsel Jack Smith was appointed by US Attorney General Merrick Garland in November of last year to oversee two Department of Justice investigations into Mr Trump.
“I think in terms of the likelihood of indictment, I’d put New York first, the special counsel second, Georgia third. But in terms of the seriousness of the peril for the president, I’d put the special counsel above either of those,” Mr Christie said.
“So in brief, do you expect an indictment by July?” the host asked the ex-governor.
“I expect that New York probably would act. I don’t know whether the special counsel will act by that time, but my guess is that New York would act by that time,” he said.
“Can someone run for office and do debates and give interviews when they’re under indictment and not make their situation worse?” Mr Hewitt asked.
“No, I think it’s impossible for them not to make the situation worse, although what I would say to you, Hugh, is that given the limited nature of the New York case, I don’t know that he’s going to be getting a whole lot of questions about the Stormy Daniels situation anyway,” Mr Christie said.
“I think it seems to me a pretty cut-and-dry situation. And I don’t know that he’d make his situation markedly worse,” he added. “But every time you open your mouth, as you know in this kind of situation, you run the real risk of it adding complications to a case where you could lose your liberty. And that’s why defence lawyers always rightfully tell their clients to keep quiet because you don’t need to make that situation more complicated because your liberty is at stake.”